Figure Skating Diet and Suggested Meal Plan

A balanced diet can provide fuel for a full day of workouts

Milk and Cereal in bowl with Strawberries
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With a packed schedule of rigorous physical exercise, a figure skater must have a healthful, balanced diet to succeed. Proper nutrition should begin when young figure skaters start training so they can develop good eating habits alongside their regular skating routines.

In addition to training on the ice every day, an aspiring figure skater might need a separate cardiovascular routine, and almost all young skaters will participate in supplemental dance classes. It is no wonder that a nutritious diet is a key component of a skater's success.

Support Figure Skate Training With Food

Studies undertaken in 2001 and 2004 showed that skaters often do not get the nutrition they need to maintain their training and performance schedules. Skaters who limit their calorie intake to keep their figures slim could end up lowering their metabolic rate, making them susceptible to illness and injury, in addition to impairing training and performance.

Certain foods that can be consumed throughout the day will help figure skaters maximize their training, according to nutritionist and wellness coach Ellen Albertson. In addition to eating properly, skaters need proper hydration, with at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water or sugar-free sports drinks per day.

Morning Meal and Snack

Starting the day with a quick, simple, nutritious breakfast packed with fiber is the foundation for a figure skater's routine. Fiber and calcium, two nutrients lacking in many diets, can kick-start figure skaters. A high-fiber cereal with nonfat milk and fruit such as apples or oranges can provide the start they need, and pure fruit juice can be added for additional vitamins.

Snacking on fruit or yogurt mid-morning will keep energy levels high and lessen the toll an early-morning skate might take before lunch.

Lunch Plus a Snack

A bean-based vegetable soup or a turkey sandwich with veggies such as lettuce, tomato, and a pickle will boost skaters toward the recommended five servings a day of vegetables and provide enough protein to keep them humming throughout the afternoon. Using condiments such as mustard in place of mayonnaise will limit unhealthy fats, while adding a side of carrots and low-sugar oatmeal cookies will complete lunch with complex carbs to use later as energy. 

Anyone who also trains in the afternoon should sneak in a little more calcium and another serving of fruit between lunch and dinner. Grapes or string cheese with wholegrain crackers can also help fuel afternoon workouts.

Dinner and, Yes, a Snack

A full day of skate training requires a dinner that's centered on lean meat packed with muscle-repairing protein but keeps saturated fat to a minimum. Skinless chicken breasts or ground turkey will do the job, and a baked potato will refuel tired muscles. Keeping the skin on the potato and adding a green vegetable such as spinach or a leafy salad will add a dose of iron.

For a figure skater, an evening snack is not a luxury but a necessary part of the day's diet. Peanut butter will provide healthy fats, while graham crackers and milk can be a recipe for a good night's sleep, an essential component for the next day's training.